Why I Hate the Government #733,000

Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Today, Kathryn Faber (I've decided to go ahead and use her name) filed a civil lawsuit against Kobe Bryant who she has accused of rape.

The other day I had a conversation with someone about how much I hate the government. The problem I have with government is that you can't fight it. They hold you at the point of the gun. Don't agree with the government, too bad. Don't want to pay taxes, go to Jail. At least with private business if you don't like something you vote with your pocketbook, much like I did in my last post by closing my bank account. Government can pretty much just screw you if it really wants to.

Take the Kobe Bryant case. I am now convinced that Kobe is innocent. I wasn't so sure before but now I am. I know if my daughter was a rape victim I would see the thing through the end no matter what. Even if I thought I would lose I would see the thing through with the faith that justice would prevail.

But to file a civil case just 3 weeks before the start of the criminal trial is ridiculous. It is a clear sign that they are going to drop the criminal case and pursue monetary damages in a civil trial. Is money going to make the victim whole? No. And what is more ridiculous is that the maximum amount of money she is likely to see is $733,000. Kobe just signed a 7 year $140 million. That's like $100 to the rest of us. I think her strategy is to settle out of court for a few million. Why would Kobe agree? Because he doesn't want the embarrassment of his sexual history coming out in a civil trial.

What does this have to do with my disdain for the government. I believe that the government had no business bringing this case to trial. Every piece of evidence that has come out to the public has been favorable to the defense. The only thing that might be damaging to Kobe is that he said some unflattering things to detectives when he was first questioned. Um yeah so what? If you had cheated on your wife and were being questioned by police wouldn't you be a little misleading. Adultery does not equal rape.

So the State of Colorado just spent a whole year, a whole lot of money, and lots of resources prosecuting a case it had no business pursuing; whose final outcome is going to be a cash settlement that makes no difference to the defendant. Whose primary witness has a known history of mental instability, drug use, and questionable sexual mores. Why? My honest feeling, if you know the details of the case, is that the Sheriff jumped the gun by arresting Kobe and the DA had little choice to file the case otherwise the city looks like a bunch of idiots.

Why do I care what happens in Colorado? Well first off its a colossal waste of tax money and even if you don't live there you pay for it as we live in a very interconnected economy. Second, it shows that government can basically screw with your life and in the end there isn't much you can do about it.


Jen said...

*begin devil's advocate*
1) Yes, the govenrment is a behemoth. But it is not infallible and it is not absolute. We have the power of the vote.

2) Are you honestly suggesting that people with a history of "mental instability, drug use, and questionable sexual mores" have less a right to proper judicial process than, er, the rest of us? If the man did rape her, she is entitled to file charges against him, even if she is a woman of ill repute. Similarly, she has an equal right to protection under litigant law (including anonymity in the press) which has not been upheld.

3) Underlying your conclusion that the trial is a waste of time is the unproven assumption that Bryant is innocent. You'd agree that's sketchy logic at best. Innocence and guilt are decisions of the court, not of the press. What you believe about Bryant's culpability is immaterial. That is for the court to decide.

4) The timing of a civil suit is similarly immaterial. Most likely, the woman's lawyers told her that a criminal suit would not end favorably (rape cases are phenominally hard to prove, especially when the accused is a powerful millionare and your sexual history is tromped through the courtroom and across the airwaves.) and as such, hitting him in the pocketbook is the only way for her to dent him for his supposed actions.

5) Perhaps a paltry few million wouldn't affect Kobe Bryant in any meaningful way, but it would be enough for this woman to get her life in order, and potentially seek counseling. If in fact this woman is mentally unstable and chemically dependent, the money, while not debilitating to the accused, could still create some good for the accuser.

6) The judicial system is NEVER a waste of tax money, even if a few cases cost a few more dollars than they potentially ought to. The alternative to a rigorous and thorough judicial system is a hasty and ramshackel one, something that discomfits me greatly.

*end devil's advocate*

Bring it on, Terrence.

T said...

Thanks for your comments Jen. I always enjoy a good debate.

1. Government's role should not be to harass its citizen and I disagree with your assertion that you can simply vote a different way if you don't like it. Government has the power to compel you to do something against your will therefore government should take a very cautious role in dealing with its citizens. To make my point about being helpless against the government and voting being unable to change anything what if US citizens not only voted to ban homosexuality but that all homosexuals would need to be thrown into prison? Even if every homosexual voted against this the majority would still have the power. This would not make it right. Government should not be about the absolute will of the people, that is why there needs to be protections against arguments like "let the people vote"

2. I would never suggest people with mental instability can not be raped and anyone who says otherwise is crazy himself. I'm saying taking into context of ALL the other evidence you can not discount it either. It is one of the many variables the sheriff and the DA should have taken into account when deciding whether or not to pursue this case.

3. Agreed. I am assuming that Kobe is innocent. I do not think him having a trial in and of itself is a waste of time. I'm saying that it should have never gotten to this point. It is abolutely a waste of time to pursue frivolous cases. All the evidence thus far has pointed to the fact that this is such a case. There must be bounds otherwise we get (and we do) too many nuisance cases and this bogs down the legal system from doing the work it really should be doing.

4. The timing of the civil case is not immaterial and any lawyer will tell you the same. It directly plays into a motive that the accuser has something to gain by pursuing the case. She has a motive to lie about the rape. I did not say it is true, I'm saying it provides motive.

5. My point was that Justice should be served and I know that if my daughter (or myself for that matter) was raped I would want there to be justice. Sacrificing (and that is exactly what she did in this matter) the criminal case for the sake of the civil case is not justice. If Kobe raped her he should go to jail for a long time. Even if the criminal case is week you do not weaken it more by filing a civil case 3 weeks before the trial. Justice can not be served by making Kobe pay $1 million and Justice, not anything else, would be my primary concern.

6. The statement "The judicial system is NEVER a waste of tax money" is absolutely false. People who sue McDonalds for making them fat IS a waste of money. Suing a stripper for being too close and banging her breat on your head, that IS a waste of money. I'm saying that in this particular case there was absolutely a rush to prosecute when there should not have been. This case will almost no doubt be dropped but the thing is, not a lot of new evidence that the prosecution didn't know about has popped up in the last few months. Only now as they see that Kobe Bryant is very serious about defending himself, and they should have known this from the beginning, are they looking for an out.

It was broughtened.

Jen said...

I would sue a stripper for hitting me on the head with her boobie.

Ryan said...

I know that Terrence already responded to each of the points stated by the devil's advocate, but I'd like to suppliment these by pointing out the use of a few popular logical fallacies.

1. Terrence never claimed the government was infallible, in fact he claimed quite the opposite. I'm not sure exactly what kind of fallacy this is, but it's certainly wrong.

2. Complex Question. The poster has falsly joined Terrence's assertion that mental instability, etc. reduces the reliability of a witness with the unrelated assertion that said people "have less a right to proper judicial process."

3. Shift of Burden of Proof. First, a defendant is innocent until provent guilty so the burden of proof ought to lie with those who believe Kobe to be guilty. Secondly, Terrence already gave reasons for believing Kobe's innocence and those were not disputed by the poster.

4. Appeal to Sympathy. The poster uses the statement that "rape cases are phenominally hard to prove" to evoke sympathy for the accuser. This is supplimented by mentioning the accuser's sexual history is being "tromped through the courtroom." Both are completely irrelevant to ethics of bringing a civil suit against Kobe.

5. Appeal to Consequences. The poster uses positive consequences which are irrelevant to Terrence's arguement. The benefits that the accuser would reap do not in any way affect the legitimacy of her claim.

6. False Dilemma. The poster incorrectly narrows the choices down to these two: the current judicial system, or a "hasty and ramshackel one". This attempts to exclude any third option which Terrence might be arguing for.